Saturday, February 5, 2011

Contemplating Choice

Just last night I was making light of the choices I had open to me... alone, with half the family away and the other half asleep, I thought I might watch a movie on my laptop in bed. Snuggle down, have a nice hot drink and watch something. I like moments like these when the choices are so simple. A funny, silly movie or a weepy, dramatic one? The choice was entirely mine! No need to worry about what anybody else wanted, or what was suitable for everyone. Just me alone in charge of that block of time, free to decide as I wished.

I wish that I had that same freedom of choice in all other areas of my life, but I don't. I can accept many of the situations in my life where my choices are curbed, but the hardest time I have accepting my choices, or the lack of them, is in living with chronic illness. It's just so hard to be up against a rock and a hard place, but that's how I feel.

I've been losing a lot of weight, and in all likelihood am having some sort of poor absorption over the past few months, especially without my gall bladder post surgery. I have endless waves of nausea, acid reflux, and diarrhoea and I am so tired that leaving home sounds exhausting. The doctor doesn't know exactly what's wrong, and I may be having scopes soon. Oh, boo. In addition, I got some kind of flu like thing with phlegmy cough, and so I began a combined dose of 2 powerful antibiotics commonly used for patients with Crohn's Disease... the evil Cipro and the nasty Flagyl.

I hate them both. I HATE, HATE, HATE them both. They hollow you out from the inside. They multiply all your existing symptoms... I can't leave home when I take these drugs. I am either drowsily at my computer, actually fast asleep, watching tv with the kids or stuck in the toilet. There are no other alternatives when I'm on these drugs.

Worse still, they make me feel like an emotional wreck. I don't want to talk to anyone. The thought of a phone conversation exhausts me. The thought of dealing with people tires me out. The very thought of human interaction outside of my family is simply too much. I can manage the kids, and hubby, but anyone else would be too draining. I can write, I can sms, I can "Facebook", but please, I don't want to talk. Talking is tiring. I have to worry about all your needs and wants, and believe me, you have them, even if you don't articulate them... I know they are there. And right now, I can't bear to think of them, I truly can't. So I can't and won't and don't talk.

But then I feel alone. And it is lonely. And it doesn't get any less lonely. Only lonelier. And tears fall so easily it seems that I am living on the edge of a loose tap that flows so many, many times a day. People do or do not understand, depending on their own journeys in life. Can they have the compassion to understand how hard it is to feel this way, and to keep feeling this way day after day and to just keep going simply because to not go on isn't a choice?

Choices are nice when you have them. Choices are even a luxury for many. Shall I eat rice or bread today? I am grateful I can ask that question because I have those options. Shall I take Cipro and Flagyl or just let my body continue to fall apart? I don't have a choice. I have to take the stuff, in the hope that it will help me get better.

I do so hope I get better soon. Someone recently said I was brave and courageous. I'm not, really. I'm just frightened that if I stopped pretending to be I'd collapse inwards and the fake facade that is me would give way and there would be a crumbling mass of flesh and bone with a very tired and worn out soul.

I think Cipro and Flagyl add to depressive feelings... I know how easy it is to feel down when living with chronic illness, and the flu adds to that, for me, and antibiotics just magnifies all of it. I tell myself this so I can go on. It's the Crohn's, it's the flu, it's the antibiotics. It isn't me. Really, I'm not a weepy mass of quivering flesh who finds life exhausting and would like nothing more than to sleep forever and never have to talk to a single soul. That's not the real me. The real me is smiley, cheerful, witty, sociable, lively... only through no choice of my own has the real me been hidden away for a season. Through no choice of my own have I evolved into what I am and feel today... but the memory of what I was, and the hope of what I can be keeps me going, even as I try to love myself through what I am now.

Hopefully the sun will come out and the clouds will clear... soon.

Thanks for reading.